Lindy's Five Essential Websites (Non-Major Media) for 2013
[+] Team Summaries

Friday, March 29, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/29/13

Distribution of FBS rostered players by height, 2012


Statistical Review: FIU #105

FIU was on the brink of a very different season. They lost 5 games by 8 points or fewer, including Louisville and BCS-slayers La-Monroe, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State. Fundamentally, FIU was a solid team, and by solid I mean not that much worse than average, but a handful of major deficiencies really held the Golden Panthers back: they were 43rd nationally in pass yards/attempt but gave up a sack once for every 9 pass attempts; their kicking game cost them a half point on average per field goal attempt; they allowed more than 5 points per red zone possession. Improvement in these areas and a few more takeaways and FIU could have been a quality just-below-average football team.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/28/13

Most fumbles per carry (running plays only) for non-quarterbacks, career for 2012 active players (at least 100 career carries)


Statistical Review: Colorado State #106

Take this as a microcosm of Colorado State football in 2012. The Rams excelled in one area - field goals. Jared Roberts connected on 90% of his attempts, was 4 for 4 from 40-49 yards, and his only miss was from 51 yards. Now if you're keeping score at home, that means he only attempted 10 field goals. To add injury to insult, if you google "Colorado State kicker", 9 of 10 results are links to videos showing him get blown up by Utah State's Jack Doughty (apparently people posting the videos couldn't bother to look up the guy's name). Unlike Kansas, though, they played a schedule sprinkled with inferior opponents and they took advantage of those opportunities to rack up 4 wins.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/27/13

Most fumbles per carry (running plays only) for non-quarterbacks (at least 100 carries).


Statistical Review: UTEP #107

As a team, UTEP completed only 52.7% of pass attempts, but they were 13th best nationally with 13.6 yards/attempt. Jordan Leslie (whose parents had the guts to use TWO androgynous names!) had 973 yards receiving on only 51 catches (Mike Edwards added 820 yards with the same number of catches). Add Jameill Showers, the guy that almost beat out Johnny Manziel for the A&M QB job and throws a beautiful deep ball, and UTEP could set off some fireworks next year. The rest of the team is mundanely bad.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/26/13


Statistical Review: Kansas #108

The most remarkable thing about Kansas in 2012 is that they were only the third worst BCS conference team. Sure, Crist completed only 48% of his attempts (they had the worst raw EPA/Pass in the country). Sure, they scored only 18 points/game while allowing twice as many. Sure, they didn't have a win against a FBS opponent. But the Jayhawks gave Rice all they could handle, pushed Northern Illinois, and lost to Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech by a combined 17 points (only to lose to Kansas State and West Virginia by a combined 89 points). They ran the ball well - Sims rushed for 1,000 and Pierson and Cox combined for another 1,000 - and should have beat Texas while attempting only 9 passes. They held on to the football and were slightly better than average at defending third downs. In summary, this team was much better than most think only because they failed in one critical area ... winning.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.





Monday, March 25, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/25/13

Distribution of FBS games by yards per attempt rushing.


Statistical Review: Illinois #109

What sets Illinois apart from the other teams I have reviewed so far is that the Illini played in the 2008 Rose Bowl. Admittedly they got destroyed in that game (a precursor of things to come?), but at least they played. (Colorado did win a national championship in my lifetime, but they've been a doormat for a long time now.) The remarkable feature about Illinois is that no team was worse at getting the ball down field in a hurry. Beckman's crew gained 25 or more yards on 1.5% of plays, less than 40% as often FBS teams on average. On a positive note, Illinois defenders were pretty good at getting to opposing quarterbacks and stopping opponents on 3rd down.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/22/13

Teams averaged 9.7 yards/carry in 7 games in the 2012 season. Two of those came against Oklahoma.

Statistical Review: Florida Atlantic #110

If Carl Pelini is desperate to add a line on his resume after his 3-9 start at Florida Atlantic, I've got it for him. For whatever reason, the Owls were freakishly good at defending 3rd downs. That is not to say they were really good at defending 3rd down plays, only that they were freakishly good relative to how generally bad they were in every other aspect of the game. In all, teams converted 58 of 158 attempts against Florida Atlantic (36.7%), good enough for 40th nationally and within one percentage point of 28th. That is, admittedly, pretty awkward for a resume, but I did say only if he was desperate.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/21/13


Statistical Review: New Mexico #111

New Mexico ran the ball 82% of the time, good enough for third most nationally ahead of profligate passers Navy and Georgia Tech. And that was definitely in their interests since New Mexico had the nation's worst passing offense (EPA/Pass+). On the other hand, only Oregon and Texas A&M got more yards per attempt when running the ball. But after adjusting for the relevance of those yards and the opposition, New Mexico was right around average rushing (EPA/Rush+). The Lobos were also remarkably bad on defense, especially at defending the pass (I guess they didn't have much to work with in practice).

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.





Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/20/13


Statistical Review: UAB #112

UAB averaged only 3.2 yards per rush attempt and completed only 58.2% of their passes, but gained more than 13 yards per completion. Add that potential for explosiveness (the Blazers gained 25 or more yards every 20th or so play) with a quality kicking game, and they were able to point more points on the scoreboard than their other measurables suggest they should have. But since they were giving up 37 points a game, that didn't really matter.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/19/13


Statistical Review: Army #113

Army was better than any team in the country at not getting tackled behind the line of scrimmage (TFL/Rush). Overall, they were pretty good at running the ball (EPA/Rush+), but they only completed 44% of their pass attempts. No team was worse at defending passes (D-EPA Pass+), few were worse at defending the run (D-EPA/Rush+). Overall they were among the nation's worst at playing defense (D-EP3 and D-EP3+). Army achieved that rare level of bad on defense that they actually allowed few passing yards during the season - 22nd nationally in passing yards per game - because teams didn't need to risk it.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/18/13

Texas State rushed for 82 or fewer yards in 4 games, and 446 yards in one game (vs. New Mexico State).

Statistical Review: Tulane #114

Tulane's offense was so bad through the first of the season it warranted a special weekly segment on this site.   Consider this: Tulane averaged 1.7 yards/carry; they rushed for fewer than 10 yards in 5 different games; they topped out at 4.14 yards/carry and 153 yards against UAB - by way of comparison, Oregon never amassed fewer than 180 yards rushing and only once dropped below 4 yards/carry (vs. California).

But along with the very bad, in Tulane you also had the very good - Cairo Santos, the kicker. No single player so completely outclassed the rest of his team more than Mr. Santos.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/16/13

Five quarterbacks with more than 250 attempts completed at least 67% of those passes and had more than half of those completions go for 10 or more yards: David Fales, San Jose State; Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville; AJ McCarron, Alabama; Cody Fajardo, Nevada; Kelly Taylor, Arizona State. One in ten readers were able to follow all of the caveats above. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/15/13


Statistical Review: Eastern Michigan #115

I report stats on Eastern Michigan only for consistency. With under 24,000 actually witnessing Eastern Michigan home games ... total ... 13% total capacity ... I'm not really sure we can trust what's being reported. What is being reported is that Eastern Michigan, on average, allowed an extra point for every four carries by the opponent than the average FBS team. No one in college football was worse.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pistol in the NFL, Fad or Future?

What do Research in Motion, the wishbone, Mike Leach and the "pro-style" quarterback have in common?
As a matter of fact, [college football] is not and cannot be stationary. Nor is it merely expanding in a steady manner. It is incessantly being revolutionized from within by new [strategies], i.e., by the intrusion of new [formations] or new methods of [disguising coverages] or new [ways of getting playmakers] opportunities [in space] into the [sport's] structure as it exists at any moment. - Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, with some modifications
In 1968, Emory Ballard and Darrel Royal unleashed the wishbone on the college football world and rode it to 30 straight wins. College football programs around the country hopped on board the wishbone gravy train. Was the wishbone so successful because it is a superior offensive strategy? If so, why don't more teams run the wishbone today? If not, why was it so successful in the 1970s?

In 2007, Apple released a new product they called the iPhone. At the time, the high-end cell phone market was dominated by Research in Motion, maker of BlackBerry phones. By 2012, not only had the iPhone nearly driven RIM into oblivion (and, technically, it did since RIM no longer exists), particularly in the United States, but Apple's market share was under siege from Samsung and Android OS.

Leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, and given the success of RGIII, Russell Wilson and especially Colin Kaepernick, a popular question was whether or not the mobile quarterback, pistol, and read-option were the future of the NFL. The proponents focus on how successful these players and strategies have been this season. The opponents note that mobile quarterbacks tend to get injured (Michael Vick!, RGIII!!) and that NFL defenses will solve it in time.
[Innovative] competition is as much more effective than the other as a bombardment is in comparison with forcing a door, and so much more important that it becomes a matter of comparative indifference whether competition in the ordinary sense functions more or less promptly. - Joseph Schumpeter
This is where the NFL falls flat; it is asking the wrong question. To say that a team shouldn't experiment with a Johnny Manziel because he isn't the "future" of the NFL is like saying that Apple shouldn't release the iPhone because it is not the end-all of cellular communication. Is Colin Kaepernick the future of the NFL? Of course not. Kaepernicks are only slightly more common than Bradys and as rare as Mannings. If they weren't rare, and NFL defenses were built to stop them, the Kaepernicks would struggle. But that is exactly the point. Kaepernick and RGIII allow teams to do something that other teams cannot. Because it is new, because it is "innovative" (forgetting for a moment that this is old hat for college football), because it is a fad is exactly why it is successful.

Would you be better off with Peyton Manning running a traditional, "pro-style" offense? Of course. If you can run out Aaron Rodgers, do that. If you have the strongest, fastest, smartest, prettiest, toughest players, use them. If you're Alabama or LSU, you're going to scream to the world that the only way to win at a high level is with a super-human defense and a powerful running game, and that programs that don't build these teams are inferior. If you're Nick Saban, you even try to bully the rules committee into outlawing innovative offensive forms.

If you're not Alabama. If you're, say, Texas Tech, you find an innovator to do something no one else is doing and win 9 games a year for a decade. When that innovator gets musty, you kick him out and [hire a musty, disgraced coach from the SEC, and when he's left,] you hire Leach 2.0 and win 9 games a year for another decade. If you're Texas Tech you won't beat Alabama with this innovative style, but you wouldn't have beat them at their game either. And even if Texas Tech can't beat Alabama, Texas A&M can. But for some reason, the Oregon's of the NFL have resisted (until recently) becoming more like the Oregon's of college football.

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/14/13


Statistical Review: Hawaii #116

Norm Chow, of BYU "And they came to pass" and Crappy NFL QB Factory (USC) fame, took over the Hawaii head coaching job (where he started his coaching career) at the end of 2011. Half a decade earlier, Hawaii's Colt Brennan targeted a number of Ty Detmer records and had a passer efficiency rating of 253.0 in 2006. The stars were aligning ... but stars, at least of the astronomical variety, don't play football. Hawaii averaged 189 passing yards per game. Ironically, Hawaii was better defending the pass, although just average, and were actually quite good at getting to the quarterback. The Warriors allowed mind blowing 5.9 points per possession in the red zone.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/13/13

Of quarterbacks with at least 250 pass attempts, only Georgia's Aaron Murray and San Jose State's David Fales completed at least 40% of those passes for 10 or more yards.

Statistical Review: UNLV #117

The Running Rebels were terrible, but they did a decent job of keeping defenders out of the backfield. They were above average and well above average in sacks allowed and tackles for loss allowed. Outside of that and field goals, UNLV was remarkably consistently not good. In fact, UNLV holds the proud distinction of being equally bad on offense and defense; they finished 97th nationally in points/game and points allowed/game.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/12/13


Statistical Review: Colorado #118

No team was more over-matched this season than Colorado. The Buffs were outscored 46-18 on average. No team allowed more points, they were 2nd worst in yards/rush and 4th in completion% allowed. Offensively, they were in the bottom 25 in yards/rush, completion%, yards/completion and, little surprise, yards/pass. They averaged -.225 expected points per pass attempt while allowing .391 expected points per pass attempt, worst in the nation. But they were actually decent in the red zone. Go figure.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.



Monday, March 11, 2013

Win, but Don't Cover: Football the Les Miles Way

Les Miles is one of the most enigmatic and colorful coaches in college football today. He has great nicknames like the Mad Hatter and my personal favorite, Lesticles. His teams at LSU have been very successful. The LSU Tigers are a robust 85-21 at overall under his guidance, an impressive 47-17 in the SEC, and the winner of one national and two SEC titles. However, his teams seem to have great trouble covering the spread. In fact, in a preemptive text to my father on New Year's Eve, after Clemson had scored with under three minutes to go against LSU to cut the lead to two, and then subsequently missed the two-point conversion, I wrote something along the lines of the title of this post. Of course, Clemson proved me wrong by driving for the winning field goal as time expired. Still, as sleep enveloped me and the new year began, I decided one of my offseason research projects would be to determine if Les Miles really had such a bad track record against the spread, or if it was just a manifestation of the availability heuristic, confirmation bias, or some other logical fallacy. For my analysis, I decided to look at how Les performed against his peers Against the Spread (ATS) in conference play. Les has been the coach at LSU since 2005, hence I looked at how every SEC team has performed ATS against league opponents in that time. The following table summarizes the results.
How about that? LSU has posted the worst ATS record in SEC play of any team since 2005. Of course, LSU has had just a single coach since 2005, while other SEC schools, such as Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have gone through three coaches in that span. How has Miles performed against other coaches since 2005? The following table lists the ATS conference record of every SEC coach since 2005 who spent at least three years in the conference.
Once again, Les brings up the rear. Only Joker Phillips and Derek Dooley, two coaches who spent just three seasons at their respective schools performed worse. Of course, there are some pretty successful coaches that appear near the bottom of this list. Betting consistently on Mark Richt and Urban Meyer would have made you miss a mortgage payment or two. Similarly, no one in Oxford is clamoring for the return of Ed Orgeron and Auburn just canned Gene Chizik despite a winning record ATS. In the interest of completeness, here are the coaches with just one or two years of SEC experience who I deemed did not merit inclusion thanks to the small sample size of their ATS efforts.
So there you have it. I certainly don't guarantee a future ATS performance as bleak as his current track record (in fact, LSU actually went 7-1 ATS against the SEC in 2011), but just something to consider when making your parlay picks next season.

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/11/13


Most common uniform numbers on FBS rosters: 7 & 8 (270), 15 (266), 11 (262), 9 & 4 (260); 6 & 10 (259)

Statistical Review: Akron #119

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.

The Terry Bowden experiment got off to a strong start in Akron ... except the 11 losses including FIU and Massachusetts. The Zips were decent on 3rd down and offensively in the red zone, but were significantly below average in just about every other respect. Maybe next year?



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/10/13

Quarterbacks ranked by percent of passing yards that came on passes of 25 or more yards.
Minimum 500 yards passing (the bottom of the list).

Player Team % Yards +25
161 Seth Doege Texas Tech 20.8% 4205 874
162 Steele Jantz Iowa State 20.7% 1603 332
163 Sean Schroeder Hawai'i 20.6% 1878 386
164 Jalen Whitlow Kentucky 19.4% 801 155
165 Jordan Webb Colorado 19.0% 1434 273
166 Dominique Blackman Idaho 18.5% 1605 297
167 Kevin Hogan Stanford 18.2% 1096 199
168 Keith Wenning Ball State 15.7% 3095 485
169 Danny O'Brien Wisconsin 15.1% 523 79
170 Kain Colter Northwestern 13.5% 872 118
171 Nathan Scheelhaase Illinois 12.3% 1361 168
172 Maxwell Smith Kentucky 8.4% 975 82

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/9/13

Quarterbacks ranked by percent of passing yards that came on passes of 25 or more yards.
Minimum 500 passing yards

Player Team % Yards +25
1 Vad Lee Georgia Tech 69.5% 596 414
2 Arsenio Favor Southern Mississippi 69.1% 650 449
3 Brendon Kay Cincinnati 55.9% 1298 726
4 Devin Gardner Michigan 51.6% 1219 629
5 Tevin Washington Georgia Tech 51.1% 1222 624
6 Connor Dietz Air Force 50.9% 1131 576
7 Dylan Thompson South Carolina 49.7% 1027 510
8 Joel Stave Wisconsin 49.2% 1104 543
9 Nick Florence Baylor 48.9% 4309 2106
10 Jared Barnett Iowa State 47.6% 624 297

Friday, March 8, 2013

Daily Dose of Statistical Minutiae, 3/8/13


Statistical Review: South Alabama #120

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions in the table below.

Far from good, South Alabama distinguishes itself from the teams that have gone before it (in our list from worst to first) by being average to above average in a number of categories, especially on defense: tackles for loss, sacks, red zone defense, rush defense, and 3rd down defense. On the other hand, they are below average in every offensive category. Welcome to the FBS!